National Security and Terrorism

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RAND conducts a broad array of national security research for the U.S. Department of Defense and allied ministries of defense. Our federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) explore threat assessment, military acquisition, technology, recruitment and personnel management, counterinsurgency, intelligence, and readiness. RAND is a world leader in terrorism research. Studies address such topics as terrorism financing and strategies to undermine violent extremism.

  • A mourner writes a message on a makeshift memorial a day after a van struck multiple people along a major intersection in north Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 24, 2018

    Commentary

    The Continuing Plague of Vehicle Attacks: What Can Be Done?

    Apr 26, 2018

    Attacks using vehicles like the one in Toronto this week are difficult to defend against, but that doesn't mean that law enforcement and local security forces can't make progress. There are four crucial elements to consider when thinking about mitigating the effects of ramming attacks.

  • A mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle was used to extract people day and night from flooded areas in Florence County, North Carolina

    Report

    DoD's Excess Property Program Works, but Perceptions About Militarized Police Persist

    May 23, 2018

    The Department of Defense provides excess equipment—everything from desks to rifles to airplanes—at little or no cost to law enforcement agencies across America. This program is efficient and effective, but there are perceptions that it contributes to the militarization of police.

Explore National Security and Terrorism

  • A Chinese Coast Guard ship (top) and a Vietnam Marine Guard ship in the South China Sea, about 130 miles away from Vietnam, May 14, 2014

    Commentary

    Vietnam's Remarkable Month of Balancing Against China in the South China Sea

    Vietnam has engaged in a string of activities to strengthen deterrence against China in the South China Sea. But Hanoi's push to deepen external defense ties with states that can help its cause won't necessarily translate into greater risk-taking in the region.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including the State Duma parliamentarians, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and other high-ranking officials, in Moscow, Russia, March 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Red Glare: The Origin and Implications of Russia's 'New' Nuclear Weapons

    Why would Russia, which has over 1,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads that can be delivered from existing ballistic and cruise missiles, invest in new, exotic systems? The answer is deeply rooted in modern Russian and Soviet history.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • American and North Korean flags facing opposite directions

    Multimedia

    Understanding and Shaping the Ongoing Korea Crisis

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Bruce W. Bennett offers RAND alumni and supporters his analysis of recent developments in North Korea and suggests new strategies for putting pressure on Kim Jong-un at the negotiating table.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with co-chairs of his campaign office at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 19, 2018

    Commentary

    Putin Can Learn from Gorbachev on How to Gain from Future U.S. Talks

    Vladimir Putin has won a flawed election to a fourth term as Russia's president, and Donald Trump has suggested the two will likely meet soon. For the Kremlin leader, however, a summit may draw shortcomings into sharper relief. If the two presidents meet, several key issues will await them.

    Mar 22, 2018

  • Paul Baran presents his work at a RAND Alumni Association breakfast on July 25, 2009

    Content

    Paul Baran and the Origins of the Internet

    RAND researcher Paul Baran developed a solution that has evolved into one of the major technological innovations of our time.

    Mar 22, 2018

  • Dissertation

    Using the National Training Center Instrumentation System to Aid Simulation-Based Acquisition

    This dissertation uses the National Training Center instrumentation system to aid simulation-based acquisition.

    Mar 22, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews the honor guard before a meeting with Japan Self-Defense Force's senior members at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, September 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Revising Japan's Peace Constitution: Much Ado About Nothing

    Despite Abe’s legislative majority, it is unclear whether he has enough political capital to convince the public of the need for a constitutional revision on the Self-Defense Force. Japan’s security policies are heavily constrained by legal and normative constraints and Abe’s plan would likely do little more than codify the status quo.

    Mar 21, 2018

  • Emergency services staff work next to a children's play area near the bench where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned in Salisbury, UK, March 13, 2018

    Commentary

    Russian Nerve Agent from Skripal Attack a Deadly Game-Changer

    The use of Novichok in last week's attack against Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia demands global condemnation and an insistence that Russia account for how the nerve agent came to be used at all, much less on foreign soil.

    Mar 19, 2018

  • People walk next to an election campaign poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Stavropol, Russia, March 14, 2018

    Commentary

    Putin's Boasting About Nuclear Weapons Won't Help Him in the Russian Election

    In a March 1 address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked Soviet-era exaggeration, proclaiming barely feasible economic and social goals and boasting of nuclear arms that are unlikely to change the strategic balance. Continued exaggeration could sap public confidence in the legitimacy of Russia's ruling system and leaders.

    Mar 15, 2018

  • Graphic of digital integrated network technology

    Testimony

    A Close Look at Data Thieves

    What do cyberattackers do with the data they steal? And how do they monetize it? Grouping hackers by their goals, motivations, and capabilities can shed light on these questions.

    Mar 15, 2018

  • Natalie Crawford

    Content

    Natalie Crawford: Distinguished Analyst of Air Force Programs and Cherished Mentor

    Natalie Crawford is a senior fellow at RAND, a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and president of the RAND Alumni Association. She holds the distinguished chair in air and space policy, a donor-funded position that allows her to conduct independent research beyond the scope of client projects and to mentor the next generation of policy researchers.

    Mar 13, 2018

  • A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran, September 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Can Europe Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    In mid-January, President Trump threatened to withdraw from the Iran agreement if Europe does not “fix” it within four months. There are viable steps Europe could take to address Trump's concerns about the deal—on missile development, inspections, and sunset clauses. But if the United States withdraws, Europe could still work with other international powers to keep the deal alive.

    Mar 12, 2018

  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018

    Commentary

    Our Reliance on Space Tech Means We Should Prepare for the Worst

    Space-enabled connectivity, technology, and services support a diverse array of political, military, and economic activities, many of which modern life on Earth relies upon and which the public often takes for granted. How prepared is global society to deal with the growing reliance on this technology and to mitigate associated risks?

    Mar 12, 2018

  • The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Louisiana transits the Hood Canal as it returns to its homeport following a strategic deterrent patrol

    Commentary

    Location, Location, Location: Evaluating Risks to Submarines from Low-Yield Warhead and Submarine Missile Launch Detection

    Experts can argue that a low-yield SLBM might not be worth deploying as it would put U.S. submarines at unacceptable risk. But the costs to adversaries to develop the capability to target U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons are substantial. In contrast, the costs to the United States are low, requiring only modification to an existing warhead.

    Mar 12, 2018

  • U.S. Army officers on foot in Alaska

    Report

    Capping Retired Pay for Senior Field Grade Officers

    Mid-grade U.S. Army officers who began their careers as enlisted personnel could potentially retire with more years of service than high-grade officers. What would be the effect of capping retired pay for mid-grade military personnel so that only those in the highest grades and with the most years of service would receive the highest retired pay?

    Mar 12, 2018

  • The flag outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands

    Commentary

    The Problem of Prosecuting International Jihadists

    The International Criminal Court may be the most ideal institution to try accused terrorists. The court would take into account the legal status of terrorists, the nationalities of their victims, and the location of the crimes — while upholding the core values of Western democracies.

    Mar 9, 2018

  • Report

    Getting Out from "In-Between": Perspectives on the Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    The perspectives collected in these conference proceedings explore alternatives to the current approaches to the regional order for the states "in between" the West and Russia -- Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

    Mar 8, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly in Moscow, Russia March 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Could Putin's Speech Signal the Erosion of Nuclear Nonproliferation?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has linked the development of new nuclear weapons capabilities to the United States' refusal to collaborate on arms control. Perhaps before Russia goes down this path, another attempt at dialogue would be beneficial as both nations have expressed a shared interest in limiting nuclear proliferation.

    Mar 7, 2018

  • Margaret Mead between 1930 and 1950

    Blog

    Studying Soviets, Not Sex: Margaret Mead's Research at RAND

    Anthropologist Margaret Mead studied Russian culture and attitudes toward authority while at RAND from 1948 to 1950. To accomplish what she called “culture cracking,” Mead looked to Russian emigres, books, journals, archives, and films since the Soviet Union was inaccessible.

    Mar 7, 2018

  • Report

    Strategic Warning on NATO's Eastern Flank: Pitfalls, Prospects, and Limits

    Russian military modernization raises concerns about the Intelligence Community's (IC's) ability to warn of Russian aggression, particularly on NATO's eastern flank. Using themes from past events, the report makes recommendations to improve warning.

    Mar 7, 2018